BSE scare fails to knock lamb business

By FWi staff

CONCERN that lamb consumption would flounder following the Food Standards Agency announcement last week that more research into BSE in sheep is needed, has proved unfounded.

And it appears that both retailers and abattoirs such as Yorkshire-based Dawn Carnaby and HM Bennetts in Andover, Hampshire, have noted little difference in buying patterns.

HM Bennetts lamb buyer Juliet Davies says it purchased with caution last Wednesday (01 November), but tight supplies forced more buying on Thursday and Friday.

“Theres been little effect,” she says, believing that the public have become weary of food scare stories.

Some retailers report a slight downturn, particularly with respect to rising lamb buying trends, but nothing alarming.

Asdas lamb buyer David Walker says last Wednesdays household lamb purchases were 3% down, against a rising trend, and Thursdays about 4% down.

“Theres been little effect and it hasnt altered our purchasing. Hopefully this is the end of it.”

Waitroses experience is more positive, although panic buying by those concerned about future fuel protests, has muddied the picture, says a spokeswoman.

“We have had only one phone call by a customer concerned about lamb and in general there has been no effect on sales,” she adds.

Customers stocking up last week accounted for the rise in Waitroses overall lamb sales, with frozen New Zealand lamb sales up by 13%.

See more